My parents were divorced when I was very young. My mother remarried five years ago.
Her husband and I have never gotten along. He has a severe drinking problem. He has always been extremely controlling and verbally abusive to both my mother and me.
He has frequently promised my mother that he will stop drinking, but he has failed to do so.
He hides his liquor bottles from her, and drinks during the day while she is at work. He is unemployed.
About a month and a half ago, his verbal abuse escalated. I was not home at the time. My mother began packing his bags, and she asked him to leave.
He became very angry and pushed her into a chair and he began choking her. He demanded that she agree he is “top dog” in the household before he let her go.
Thankfully, she was able to get away from him before he could seriously hurt her, or worse. She did not call the police.
He did move out, and she began the process to file for divorce.
Four weeks later she let him back into the house after several apologies from him and promises that he would change.
As far as I am concerned, I think that my mother was very wrong to take him back. I believe that his actions were unforgivable.
I am just getting ready to move down to San Diego to start my third year of college at San Diego State. I attended community college here, and it has been my dream to finish my degree down there.
However, now I am worried about leaving. What if something happens while I am gone? Maybe I should stay here. I don’t really want to, but I am so confused.
What do you suggest that I do?
Signed, Worried Daughter
Dear Worried Daughter,
I can certainly understand your worries and concerns. Your step-father is displaying the symptoms of a batterer.
However, I think that you should follow your dream, and go ahead and go off to school.
If you were to stay at your mom’s home, there is no guarantee that you would be there if something unpleasant or dangerous were to happen again.
I would have a serious heart to heart talk with your mom and let her know of your concerns. I suspect that she won’t be surprised to hear them. Make plans to stay in frequent contact with her.
Then, begin making plans to make the move. Remember that it is ultimately her decision if she decides to end the relationship permanently.
For both of your sakes, I certainly hope that she does.
I am in a bit of a dilemma. I have an issue with one of my roommates. I really care about her a lot, and we have been close friends for several years.
The problem is that she is very sad. The last three nights I have come home to find her crying.
I think the problem relates to a new relationship that she is in. She won’t tell me what the issue is.
I’m not sure how to talk to her about it because she will never tell me anything about this new boy.
I don’t want to make her angry by trying to convince her to break up with him. I really don’t know him very well.
I just want her to be happy. I am in desperate need of advice because I don’t want to see one of my dearest friends in this miserable state.
Signed, Concerned Roommate
Dear Concerned Roommate,
I know that your heart is in the right place, but my advice is that you stay out of it. If and when she is ready to talk about this situation with you, she will.
In the meantime, don’t push her for details. When it comes to matters of the heart, the decisions must be made by the couple involved.
So, stay supportive, and be the great friend that you are. Be patient.
At some point either the issue will be resolved, or she will come to you and talk to you about it.
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